OPEN LETTER TO: GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA FROM: CONCERNED STUDENT/CITIZEN REF: REALITY, AVOIDING BAD PRECEDENCE OR FAILURE IN DEALING WITH COPPERBELT UNIVERSITY ALTERCATION
As referenced above, It is saddening right now to be a student at the nation’s second highest learning institution. Speaking from the pre opening fracas to the issues at hand.
We were made to stay on vacation for five months due to the unexplained extension. First year students even opened without knowing what bursary percentages that they were given.
After opening, we experienced the failed online timetable that was behaving as a rate of change (in extenso; kept on changing every hour) for a fortnight additive to about a month and two weeks of no proper learning. As if that was not enough, we saw the biggest class of over 1500 non quota and education students learning in a tent for whatever purpose whoever wanted to achieve.
The so called tent that is alleged to have been built at a cost of K8billion with a life span of 11 years. We even felt that it was never necessary as a wall would have probably coast the same amount and even save as a studying place to concatenate the very small and useless library we have that is filled with worthless and outdated books.
Then we were also told of an allegation were the “management” was said to have procured breathalyzers at a cost that could have bought laboratory instruments for all the labs that we have. Surprisingly, we are still using apparatus labelled ‘ZIT’ and are far beyond usability.
Then we are full of engineering students with nowhere to do practicals from. Partly due to some of these and many other untold academically misery led to the current CBU bickering. Now this is a disagreement between academic union and management led by a former military man who also studied peace and conflict resolution methods.
Each side has their story as management has failed to go while lecturers have also failed to go back to class under current management. In bemba they say “insofu nga shalwa, ificulilamo fyani”, implying that “when elephants fight, its the grass that suffers”.
This is the case where because of whoever is being selfish here, more than 15000 of us have been affected.
The weird and most hurting part is that you as government that we have trusted with the go ahead to lead us have also prove to be failures by issuing contradictory remarks regarding this issue.
Hon Chishimba Kambwili claims to say that his statement that he had issued through the media threatening CBU lecturers and ZNBC staff with being fired if they did not return to work, was representing government position as he is the chief government spokes person and only communicates what is resolved at cabinet meetings.
Her hon the Vice president also says something else. If Kambwili’s threats were really government’s position, we ask why you have resorted to intimidation as our mandated source of guidance.
If indeed you found nothing wrong with CBU management, did you like wise find nothing wrong with ZNBC management, Davis Chama, Chishimba Kambwili and so on, or it is the so called fear of setting a bad precedence?? Assuming that yes, managements were indeed in the right capacities, was that the right approach that could have been used regarding a matter of national delicacy??
How can a person with such a prestigious position as Chief Government Spokes Person be using street language when communicating officially as though he never studied communication skills somewhere where he obtained his degree?? And as government, how do you allow a such to represent your views??
Coming back to issues of precedence… It seems like everyone is afraid of that animal called “bad precedence”.
Even lecturers do not want it just as President Lungu stated that he did not want it when he refused to fire hon Chama and Kambwili as requested for by the Tonga chiefs following the alluded to as tribal remarks they had made.
So in the name of bad precedence, then who is going to solve this issue.Everybody involved at the moment seems to be failing. I am sorry to say that including you as government, you are exhibiting failure. How can we resort to tribunals at this time when the academic calender has already been grossly affected?? We believe that this time you people are making us waste shall never be recovered. We wish to also remind you that everyone here is trying to protect his own interest and you inclusive, but this is being done at our expense as students.
So we have concluded that you all do not care about our interests as students. But we also want to let you know that we are also already learning from you in this ‘bad precedence’ that you have already showed that is strengthening our understanding that you as government do not believe that dialogue is the only alternative to violence. Forget not that CBU is representing more that 15000 homes country wide.
That means more that 15000 relatives and sub relatives and so on who can easily be influenced on who to vote for. My opinion, as you look at these issues also look at how many people you are hurting in the name of protecting your interests. We wish to let you know that not all hope is lost yet.
You can still lead better than this and we believe that you can restore our depleting dignity. If you fire the lectures as well, what precedence will you also set for private sector employers??
We do not dispute firing anyone after transparently following the right procedures.
Allow us not to lose this fast escaping academic year which will mean losing a full year of our lives.
We expect you to be quick and with agility when dealing with this matter because we hope not to take it into our own hands…